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Ex-police officer used IT skills to launch cyber security company

How and why did you start in business?

Around May 2019, I had an idea to combine my policing experience and passion for IT. I had been slowly studying ethical hacking and cyber security in my spare time, and it just made sense to transition into the sector.

I started Team Red 5 to focus on the physical side of cyber security, using offensive tactics to highlight vulnerabilities, and help people and companies become more resilient. There seems to be a rise in IT companies offering cyber defence, but nobody is looking at the physical side.

Can someone plug something into your computer or network and walk away, or steal your hard drive? I love helping to keep people safe.

How did you get to where you are today?

I was a police officer for 17 years, and carried out a number of roles in both plain clothes and uniform. I left Police Scotland in 2015 to pursue my interest in software development and IT. I had been thinking for a while about how to combine skills acquired in the police with the IT industry. Focusing on the physical aspect and the offensive tactics of cyber security just made complete sense.

Who helped you?

A number of different people have helped along the way. I have had some great support from Elevator/Business Gateway in getting the business off the ground and looking at different types of clients.

Just after I launched the company I attended a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) event and really liked what they had to offer. I joined almost immediately and have since used at least three of their services.

My wife and children are my biggest supporters and always lend a hand where possible, even if it’s just a fresh cuppa.

What has been your biggest mistake?

I think early on I spent too much time trying to raise awareness and not enough of it selling. It’s a fine balance and always a challenge for a small company, but there must be cash flow.

What is your greatest achievement?

I have been asked to speak at a ScotlandIS (the industry body for Scottish software, telecoms, digital and IT businesses) event in February, in relation to physical cyber security, which I am really looking forward to.

That and securing our first clients, realising that companies do want and need our services.

If you were in power in government, what would you change?

I would increase the funding available for cyber security initiatives. It doesn’t matter if you are a family, small business or multinational, cyber security is so important and more needs to be done to raise awareness of the threats and risks to our private data.

What do you still hope to achieve?

I can never sit on my hands as there is so much more to achieve. I am trying to diversify our client base and look at the different sectors in Aberdeen.

I hope that by raising awareness of our company and services we offer, we can help to make people more resilient in both the physical and cyber landscapes.

What do you do to relax?

I like to run and get to the gym when I can, but also love tinkering with new gadgets or playing video games. I could probably be accused of spending too much time on Football Manager (computer game) but it can be quite addictive. I also love spending time with my wife and children, who keep me on my toes.

What are you currently reading, listening to or glued to on the TV?

I am currently reading Wasting Your Wildcard: The Method and Madness of Fantasy Football (David Wardale) and I love listening to podcasts from Human Factor Security when I can.

What do you waste your money on?

Gadgets and games. I just can’t help myself from buying shiny new things. I don’t see them as a waste of money.

How would your friends describe you?

As a geek, probably.

What would your enemies say about you?

I am not sure you can print that.

What do you drive and dream of driving?

I currently drive a small family car, but when I was 16 and saw my boss drive his blue Porsche 911 into the car park it became the vehicle I love, want and will, hopefully, some day achieve.

Source: Press & Journal

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